5 reasons why Royal Caribbean’s newest megaship is my favorite yet

5 reasons why Royal Caribbean’s newest megaship is my favorite yet

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From the second I stepped onboard Icon of the Seas, I used to be wowed.

I’ve cruised on 18 of Royal Caribbean’s 27 cruise ships, and as somebody who sometimes prefers smaller ships, I used to be greatly surprised by simply how a lot I beloved the cruise line’s latest ship.

Whereas Icon of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship on the planet, her spectacular traits transcend simply her dimension.

Past the apparent—stellar leisure, fashionable cabins, and a plethora of onboard actions—it was the smaller touches on Icon of the Seas that blew me away. I used to be impressed by the quantity of ocean views, number of new eating choices, and considerate design of the ship’s eight neighborhoods.

I had solely three days onboard throughout a media preview cruise, and this was not practically sufficient time to expertise all of the ship needed to supply. That being stated, my brief time onboard simply had me come to the conclusion that Icon of the Seas is my favourite ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.

Associated: Our complete guide to Icon of the Seas

From the fashionable new meals corridor to the attractive Royal Promenade, listed below are 5 explanation why the most recent Royal Caribbean ship is my favourite—and why I can’t wait to get again onboard.

I beloved the The Overlook, which provides unmatched views and ambiance

Of all of the model new areas to discover on Icon of the Seas, I used to be maybe most excited to take a look at The Overlook, a hangout house within the entrance of the AquaDome.

The AquaDome—an 82-foot-tall glass dome on the ahead prime of Icon of the Seas—is a powerful feat of engineering inside itself. And whereas the AquaDome is most recognized for its indoor AquaTheater leisure venue, my favourite side of this space is The Overlook.

If in case you have sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum or Oasis Class ships, try to be accustomed to the ships’ indoor Solariums, that are situated in the identical space as The Overlook. But as a substitute of constructing this one other pool house on Icon of the Seas, the cruise line did one thing extra progressive: they created The Overlook.

The Overlook is an indoor lounge with a few of the most breathtaking views you’ll discover anyplace on the ship. I discovered myself drawn to The Overlook throughout my time onboard. With its comfy seating, floor-to-ceiling home windows, and shut proximity to 2 bars, I may simply spend a whole day within the space with no regrets.

Associated: Icon of the Seas AquaDome: What to expect

For those who can snag one of many coveted Overlook Pods, you’re in for a deal with. Inside The Overlook are 4 seating areas—known as pods—a few of that are elevated off the bottom. Not solely are these pods a superb place for that good Instagram shot, however they’re, no doubt, a classy hangout house.

Whether or not you’re imbibing together with your journey get together or difficult new mates to a recreation of playing cards, the pods present a scenic, semi-private space to loosen up within the AquaDome neighborhood. As a plus, the pods have a number of shops beneath the seats, which makes them an ideal place to plug in a tool if you should get any work executed whereas onboard.

Household-focused areas are condensed into one place, making the expertise great for each children and adults

Icon of the Seas was designed to be the final word household trip, and it appears she has lived as much as the hype. Not solely does the ship have its personal waterpark, however Icon options kid-friendly favorites like a carousel, mountain climbing wall, child splash pad, mini golf course, and playground, amongst different actions.

As a 20-something with out children, I used to be nervous about simply how family-focused Icon of the Seas could be. Though I’ve beloved my cruises on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships, the vessels don’t essentially have a central “hub” for households. I all the time discovered them to be barely overpacked with children.

Icon of the Seas, then again, has particular neighborhoods designed with households in thoughts. Surfside, as an illustration, is designed nearly completely for younger kids, with kid-friendly eating places, an arcade, Splashaway Bay aqua park, and a bar that includes “mommy and me” cocktails and mocktails. Moreover, Thrill Island, residence to the Class 6 Waterpark, is one other well-liked space designed for households.

Associated: Icon of the Seas Surfside neighborhood: What to expect

Throughout my cruise, it appeared that Royal Caribbean’s thorough design of those neighborhoods was profitable—they had been full of households and younger kids.

Some potential cruisers crusing with out children have been delay by Icon of the Seas’ overt advertising and marketing towards households. For my adults-only getaway, although, I discovered these family-focused neighborhoods to be a plus. As a result of households had been drawn to particular zones of the ship, the remainder of the vessel felt rather more adult-focused.

The AquaDome Market provides a superb addition to Royal Caribbean’s eating choices

The trade’s trendiest eating idea in latest ship builds has been the meals corridor, and Royal Caribbean has caught on to that development with the launch of the AquaDome Market.

Both in lieu of or along with a buffet, cruise strains like Virgin Voyages and Norwegian have debuted a meals market on new ships, which provides a number of made-to-order dishes from particular person stands, every providing a distinct delicacies.

I’ve to confess I used to be jealous once I learn my coworkers’ opinions of those meals halls on our sister web site Cruise.Blog. Not solely did these meals halls look unquestionably cool, however they provided delicacies you’d be onerous pressed to search out in a standard buffet, together with Spanish tapas and Japanese ramen.

So once I boarded Icon of the Seas, my first cease was the AquaDome Marketplace for lunch. {The marketplace}, situated contained in the ship’s AquaDome neighborhood, provides 5 meals stands providing every thing from hen pita wraps to bacon mac n’ cheese and a wide range of paninis. This venue is complimentary for company.

Associated: Icon of the Seas restaurant and dining guide

My favourite station on the AquaDome Market is GNGR, which provides Asian-inspired rice and noodle bowls. Protein choices embody candy and bitter shrimp, ginger beef, and hen teriyaki, and bowls are topped with fried vegetable spring rolls. Whereas parts are on the smaller facet, this allowed me to strive different choices out there as effectively.

Along with GNGR, I beloved my falafel and hummus bowl at FETA Mediterranean, whereas fellow Royal Caribbean Weblog author Angie raved concerning the tacky choices at MAC’s Mac & Cheese and the Monte Cristo sandwich at Toast & Backyard.

After all, you may’t eat at AquaDome market with out attempting a crepe at Crème de la Crêpe. Whether or not a traditional crepe with lemon zest and dusted sugar or the decadent Nutella banana choice, you may’t go improper with any crepe on the AquaDome market—I attempted all of them!

Though the expansive Windjammer buffet nonetheless provides a far larger variety of selections in comparison with the AquaDome Market, I discovered myself eating on the AquaDome Market much more steadily than the latter. The number of cuisines, made-to-order dishes, and total fashionable vibe of the venue is certain to make this spot successful for the brand new vessel.

The Hideaway is every thing I’ve ever wished in an adults-only hangout house, even when I’d miss the indoor Solarium

Icon of the Seas is the one Royal Caribbean ship with out an adults-only Solarium, however there’s a neighborhood as a substitute as a substitute: The Hideaway.

Positioned within the ship’s aft, The Hideaway is the one designated adults-only space on Icon of the Seas. The house was designed with “Las Vegas pool get together” in thoughts, and it’s a classy, fashionable pool house for adults 18 years and older.

As a result of the Solarium is one among my favourite areas on different Royal Caribbean ships, I used to be initially disillusioned to listen to the venue would get replaced with The Hideaway. In any case, many Solariums are totally indoors, offering a climate-controlled, shaded space for adults to unwind.

The Hideaway, quite the opposite, doesn’t have a lot shade and is open to the weather, but these downsides are overpowered by the sheer coolness of the world. With a suspended infinity pool, comfy daybeds, two jacuzzis, and The Hideaway Bar, The Hideaway is definitely my first alternative for a pool day on Icon of the Seas.

Time will inform, nevertheless, whether or not an indoor Solarium is missed by passengers on Icon of the Seas. Most of the time, I discovered myself lounging within the Solarium on different ships with out coming into a pool or scorching tub anyway, so if I’m in search of a quiet, indoor space to loosen up, I may try this in The Overlook within the AquaDome as a substitute.

Views of the ocean are ample within the historically inward-facing Royal Promenade, and I beloved spending time there

Certainly one of my essential complaints about Royal Caribbean’s latest ships has all the time been the dearth of ocean views. Ships like Surprise of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas are so huge that it’s straightforward to overlook you’re on a cruise ship altogether… however honestly, I don’t need to overlook that I’m on a cruise ship.

Specifically, the Royal Promenade and Royal Esplanade on Royal Caribbean’s ships have historically confronted inward, with little to no ocean views. Positive, the Royal Promenade provides ample alternative for leisure, eating, purchasing, and actions, however generally all I wished was to sit down and loosen up with a stupendous view.

Whereas designing Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean noticed this shortcoming and determined to fully rethink the Royal Promenade. As an alternative of designing venues to face inward, the cruise line went above and past with ocean views.

Associated: Icon of the Seas Royal Promenade: What to expect

From Pearl Café’s expansive, five-deck excessive window to the indoor (and outside!) views from the newly debuted 1400 Foyer Bar, pure gentle and ocean views are ample on Icon’s Royal Promenade.

Whereas the Royal Promenade would normally be a spot I’d keep away from throughout the day in lieu of brighter, ocean-facing venues onboard, I couldn’t get sufficient of the house throughout my cruise. Actually, I in all probability spent extra time within the Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas than throughout all my cruises on Oasis Class ships mixed.

On most different Royal Caribbean ships, the Royal Promenade is solely a spot to rapidly go via throughout the day. On Icon of the Seas, it’s a vacation spot.

Whereas Icon of the Seas will not be good, it’s fairly darn shut

It’s unattainable to construct a “good” cruise ship, however Icon of the Seas comes shut. The considerate design touches, variety of new eating and bar ideas, range of stateroom choices, and numerous onboard actions are only a few of the explanation why Icon of the Seas is a recreation changer for the cruising trade.

Even so, not every thing is ideal with Icon of the Seas. It’s onerous to miss the value tag of crusing on the ship, even when evaluating it to the second latest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Surprise of the Seas.

You’ll be able to anticipate to pay at the very least $2,000 per particular person for an inside room on a 7-night Icon of the Seas cruise. Surprise of the Seas is, on common, round half the fee for a similar kind of cabin.

Associated: How much does a cruise cost? (2024)

Although new ships have all the time include a excessive sticker price, Icon of the Seas has taken Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship pricing to a brand new degree.

Moreover, the itineraries on Icon of the Seas are extraordinarily restricted. As a destination-focused cruiser, I nearly completely e book cruises based mostly on the vacation spot relatively than the ship itself. As a result of Icon of the Seas solely provides the identical few Caribbean itineraries week after week, the itineraries aren’t very engaging.

Nonetheless, Icon of the Seas is the primary ship I sailed on the place I may see myself skipping a port day so as to spend extra time onboard. Beforehand, I used to scoff on the thought of staying onboard as a substitute of exploring a brand new port, however there’s a lot to see and expertise on Icon of the Seas to justify skipping a port day. I actually by no means thought I’d say that!

Even when protecting these downsides in thoughts, there’s no denying that Icon of the Seas offers an distinctive trip expertise. I positively received’t be reserving the ship for each cruise trip I take—my finances would not permit that—however cruising on a ship this magnificent is one thing each cruiser “Loyal to Royal” ought to expertise at the very least as soon as.

Considering cruising on Icon of the Seas? Take a look at our full ship tour on YouTube here.

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Alex Lorel

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